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Private Enforcement Agents, a relief for the judiciary

Private Enforcement Agents, a relief for the judiciary Photo by: The USAID Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program

The establishment of the institution of private enforcement agents and its implementation starting from January 2014 will contribute positively in facilitating the work of the judiciary and citizen's access to justice in Kosovo, by which the cases will be enforced in a more efficient and effective way.

The institution of private enforcement agents is a modern institution which already functions in most countries of the region and those of the European Union. In Kosovo, the establishment and functioning of this institution is provided by the Law on Enforcement Procedure, a law which entered into force on January 31, 2013. Through this law, private enforcement agents are entrusted and delegated public authorizations which they will perform in the service of the parties, i.e. creditors. Private enforcement agents can enforce all cases except those which deal with issues of family law and the return of workers and civil servants to work, as well as other compensations. It should be noted that, starting from January 2014 until June 30, 2014, the private enforcement agents together with the courts will function in a parallel way, and after June 30, 2014 the private enforcement agents will be the only ones who will enforce cases, with the exception of the previously mentioned cases which will remain the competence of the courts.

For a person to be appointed as a private enforcement agent, he/she must meet the conditions specified in Article 326 of the Law on Enforcement Procedure, some of which include the following: to be a lawyer, to have passed the bar exam, to have a substantial experience in legal affairs, to be equipped with adequate resources in order to carry out effective public authorization etc. The procedure for selecting the private enforcement agents goes through several stages, where candidates who meet the previously mentioned conditions are invited to a written exam, and those who pass this exam are required to attend training and after that they can start their work as private enforcement agents. Despite the fact that this is a system of private enforcement, persons who obtain the right of exercising this public authorization shall be inspected and supervised by the Ministry of Justice and the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents, an institution which is going to be established. It is worth mentioning that any private enforcement agent will be appointed individually, however private enforcement agents can as well be organized as a business entity, as required by the Law on Business Organizations.

Private enforcement agents will act in accordance with all the laws of the Republic of Kosovo and the Code of Ethics, a tool which will be approved meanwhile and will provide professional and ethical standards for private enforcement agents (including deputy private enforcement agents). This Code aims to guarantee professionalism and ethics for fast and effective execution in order to fulfill the client requirements, always taking into account the public interest and the rule of law. Private enforcement agents will act according to the principles of fairness, impartiality and equal attitude towards participants in the execution procedure. Private enforcement agents will help the creditors in the fulfillment of their legal rights while respecting the rights and dignity of the debtor, the court and its decisions.

The jurisdiction of private enforcement agents will be extended to the entire territory of Kosovo and the number of private enforcement agents should be sufficient in order for this profession to be more competitive so that the service is more qualitative and the speed of the execution of cases increases. The number of private enforcement agents will be assigned by the decision of the Minister, but this number shall not be less than 1 private enforcement agent for 25,000.00 residents who will operate under the territorial jurisdiction of the Basic Courts. To date, 21 people have passed the written exam and 17 of them have attended the training.

With the full functionality of this system, Kosovo will eventually make a major step towards improving the rule of law in general and the respect and fulfillment of obligations in particular. Although a complete implementation of this system will take some time, much has been already done to successfully lunch it on January 2014. Such reforms help Kosovo on its way towards reforming the judiciary system and creating a more practical and fair system for its citizens.

DISCLAIMER:

This article was prepared by the USAID Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program. The content of this article is the responsibility of the USAID Contract Enforcement (CLE) Program, and the views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government.

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